With the series on the line and still the absence of a sixth-bowling option, the onus was on the new-ball pair of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami to get their lengths right with the new ball against the ominous Australian opening pair of David Warner Aaron Finch. It was coupled with Shami going around the wicket against Warner to cut off the scoring areas while Virat Kohli got his men to tighten the fielding. Yet, less than an hour into the second ODI game at the same Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday, Australia cautiously saw off the new-ball pair to send India wicketless in the Powerplays before stitching their fifth-century stand against the Men in Blue.
The strategy was simple from India amid lack of assistance for the seamers- while Bumrah shortened his length against the Aussie skipper, Shami went along with the Stuart Broad strategy. The openers managed only two boundaries in the first 24 balls, scoring at just a shade over four an over. But Warner capitalised on the change in attack when India introduced Navdeep Saini and used the pace of his deliveries to settle in. He comfortably pulled off a six in the first ball against the pacer, who was bowling into the wind, and then carved two boundaries in the next over. By the time Shami returned for his fourth over, Warner already looked at his impressive best as he pounced on the two short deliveries to ramp consecutive boundaries.
Bumrah failed to err his length and looked spot on with his strategy all throughout giving Australia no room for scoring against him. He conceded just none runs in his first three overs. But it was Saini that the pair targetted, scoring 28 runs off his first three overs.
Warner's aggressive strokeplay took the opening stand to a second consecutive fifty and gave the comfort to Finch to use the time and settle in. Australia eventually managed 59 runs with a loss in the Powerplays adding to India's ODI woes.
This was the fifth time in a row that India failed to get a wicket in the Powerplays - 54/0 (vs New Zealand in Hamilton), 52/0 (vs New Zealand in Auckland), 65/0 (vs New Zealand in Mount Maunganui), 51/0 (vs Australia in Sydney), 59/0 (vs Australia in Sydney).
In 2020, India have played eight ODIs - three more barring the aforementioned, also against Australia, but at home - and conceded 476 runs for just three wickets at an average of 158.66 and an economy rate of 5.95. The average with the new ball is the worst for any ODI team in a single calendar year, surpassing Kenya's figure of 104.37 back in 2001.
According to CricViz, a deeper look into the issue reveals that India, since the start of 2016, have take a wicket every 51.9 balls in the Powerplay which is the worst strike rate for any ODI side during the period.
The Aussie pair, well settled in after the Powerplay, walloped to their 12th century stand, the joint-fifth most in ODIs and their fifth against India, the most for any Australian opening pair, to stitch a 142-run stand after the hosts opted to bat first in the second ODI hence handing India yet another unwanted feat - it was for the first time that the Men in Blue conceded more than 100 runs without a wicket in three straight ODI innings.